It's an event that has been overshadowed by the four-day Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, but is historical and spans almost a century. Over the weekend, the Ninety-Fourth Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta took place along Seashore Promenade and was testament to a small group of people working together to keep the tradition of sailing alive. In tonight's episode of Kolcha Tuesday, we feature the regatta.�

Nicole Solano, C.E.O., Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations

"This is a very important part of Belizean history and culture, the Baron Bliss Regatta and just promoting sailing and bringing the importance of that. We are a coastal country; we have the beautiful Caribbean Sea to be able to get out there and enjoy that and experience that and share that with our young people and just having the infrastructure in place to be able to support that is important to us."

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta is a longstanding tradition where sailing boats from coastal communities, including the cayes, would participate. Back in the glory days, from the Memorial Park to the Animal Park across from the Baron Bliss Lighthouse would be locked off for the spectacle and sailors - young and old - would compete in various races. For several reasons, it was moved to the Buttonwood Bay area, in front of Seashore Promenade, where mostly small boats and children from ages eight to seventeen would participate.

Collet Maheia, Chairman, Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta Committee

"We had participants from Gales Point, from Placencia, from Corozal and from Belize City. We were hopeful to have from San Pedro and Caye Caulker, but next year hopefully we will get and grow this regatta."

Excited about the experience having sailed as a child, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations Nicole Solano hopped onto one of the boats, captained by Roberto Pott of the Sea Scouts. She ended up sailing on the "Gannet" to victory in the Bosuns category.

Nicole Solano

"I've known Roberto Pott for a long time, from Belize Sea Scouts and I saw him about to start the race and I asked, can I join and I jumped on the boat and we did the entire course, it was wonderful. I learned to sail when I was very young in Manatee Lagoon, so by Gales Point. And it was so nice. It's been many years since I've been on the boat so it was just wonderful to be out sailing, it was a beautiful day today and it was really just a wonderful event so it was good to be there."

The other categories include the Optimist Class, which is an introduction of sailing for children between the ages of eight and fourteen; they are newcomers to sailing, so to speak. Twelve-year-old George Jackson won this category; he represented the Placencia Sailing Club

George Jackson, 1 st Place, Optimist Category

"I just start sail last year around Easter time. It feel good fu win."

Duane Moody

"You gone di whole route weh dah three miles around?"

George Jackson

"Yes sir."

Duane Moody

"What is your preparation like?"

George Jackson

"Just stay calm, when yo go sleep dah night, try noh fi think about it too much because if yo make it get to yo head, it could mess up how yo sail."

Belize has been represented internationally and has done well.� The committee is optimistic that one day, they will make it to the Olympics of sailing. That Olympic class category of sailors is referred to as the Laser category. The Corozal Bay Sailing Club fielded the winner.

Devaughn Morrison, 1 st Place, Laser Category

"I've been sailing for a good while now so I find it peaceful when I am out there on the water, just me and my thoughts. When I got introduced to racing, I was like wow, you could actually race kids. I just wanna say there is not a lot of kids in sailing anymore and I just want to encourage them to come out and enjoy the sport. Today I was sailing a bigger sale so it was kinda rough. It was an Olympic class sail so it was kinda hard - lotta pain, legs hands cramping right now but overall I enjoy it and I love it and it is something I am passionate about."

Two young women participated in the races. Although she did not win, Toni Vidal says that sailing has no gender.

Toni Vidal, Participant, Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta

"I feel very proud that I am representing the female in Belize, from Corozal, because there aren't many and I think a lot of young women should come out and join the sailing club because it's very fun and it's a fund experience."

This year, there was the return of the "Spectacular Sixteen Sailing Dories" from Gales Point and the future goal is to see the participation sailors from Sarteneja, as well as Caye Caulker and San Pedro.

Collet Maheia

"These dories; they take special skills to sail. The older sailors from Gales Point have been passing down the skills to their young sailors. So this year, we had two categories of sailing dories - we had the professional class and the kids' class. And I am so thankful for the Gales Point people for coming down to support, because as much as we organize and plan, we cannot have a race without participants."

All winners walked away with medals, fifteen hundred dollars in prizes for each category and bragging rights. Several persons were honoured during the 2023 event: former Governor General Sir Colville Young, Wally Brown from Mullins River and Teddy Blease. Duane Moody for News Five.


Channel 5